An internship in England provides opportunities for college students and recent graduates to stand out among job applicants. Ranked as the sixth-largest economy in the world, the United Kingdom is now, more than ever, a premier destination for students looking to intern abroad at leading companies.
Hopping across the pond provides a way to see a new country, gain work experience, but also to intern in a place that speaks English. Internships in England can be found in a variety of fields such as business, technology, economics, communications, and politics.
England has always been a popular tourist destination due to its rich history, diverse culture, and exciting current events. Take in the capital city from the top of The London Eye, visit the Football Museum in Manchester, or visit the moody coast in Brighton. England is also in a central location to Europe, providing an opportunity to take weekend trips to explore surrounding countries.
Read on to learn about the top industries in England, where to go, and when to apply to find the perfect internship placement for you.
As the world headquarters for many large international corporations, England has always been a major hub in the business world. Interns typically work with an international company or local British company in fields ranging from finance, accounting, and marketing. If you're looking for a business internship in England, Global Experiences provides placements with other interns and has a focus on professional development.
As a major business hub, England has a rich economic history and is a great destination for students interested in economics. Internships in England allow opportunities for students to work on economic analysis for a corporation or the government, and to be a research assistant to a University professor at one of Britain’s many excellent academic establishments.
Media & Communications:
Communications is an ever-growing field and England is an exciting place to learn more about it. Students are able to intern with public relations firms, ad agencies, and publications. Start your search for marketing, PR, and comms internships with Absolute Internship.
England's government is quite unlike the United States. Students find England's monarchy and parliamentary government fascinating to learn about. Government internship opportunities include working for MPs (Members of Parliament), political parties, and lobbying groups in England.
When and Where to Look for an Internship in England:
Being England's capital and its largest city, London has the most opportunities for students looking for internship opportunities in the nation. A variety of international and local companies are based in London, thus making it the perfect city for students looking to find internships. Plus, in the time after work, you can enjoy the best that London has to offer from eating at cafes in Notting Hill to visiting the top attractions like Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.
Opportunities are also available in other cities such as Cambridge and Manchester. Internships in Cambridge, nicknamed "Silicon Fen," are mostly in the technology, biotech, business, and theatre sectors.
There is no recommended time of the year for interning in England, as placements are available year-round. However, summer internships are perhaps the most convenient for students as they can utilize the time in between semesters.
Visas for Interns in England:
If you are also studying abroad while interning in England, you must apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa which allows you to stay in the country for up to four years. This visa requires you to submit a letter from your U.K. University confirming acceptance and a bank statement confirming that you have enough money available to cover your expenses for up to one year.
If you are looking at simply interning during your stay in England, you will be required to get a Tier 5 Visa. This visa is valid for up to six months and requires you to show proof of your internship as well as bank statements to confirm that you will be able to support yourself.
Cost of Living in England:
Most students find internships in large cities like London and Cambridge, and thus the cost of living tends to be high. Since the British Pound is monetarily stronger than the American dollar, the cost of living is more expensive in England as compared to some U.S. cities.
On average, students need about 350 to 500 pounds ($500- $900) for food and personal expenses every month, not including housing. Apartments in the city center cost around 750 pounds, while apartments outside the city center are cheaper at ~600 pounds.
Even though England is similar to the United States in terms of customs and business etiquette, there are certain practices which differ from American ones.
Upon meeting, people shake hands immediately to greet each other. However, prolonged eye contact is not made beyond the greeting. Additionally, you are expected to address people with the courtesy titles Mr. Mrs. and Miss, along with their surnames, unless they invite you to address them by first name (it is important to note that this custom is not very common with individuals under 35, who tend to address each other immediately by first name).
With regards to communication, the British tend to use understatement and do not use effusive language. It is important to keep in mind during your internship in England that the British can be quite formal and that they look for long term relationships with people they do business with.
Students shouldn’t find there to be a language barrier. However, British English does differ from American English, so some words and terminology will differ.
Work and Labor Laws in England:
International students are allowed to do both paid and unpaid internships in England under U.K. Labor Laws. Unpaid internships are much more common than paid ones, and thus students often look for part time work. Usually, students will get academic credit or some kind of non-monetary perks during their internship.
If you have a Tier 4 Student Visa, you are allowed to work in England for up to 20 hours a week. However, it is important to note that it is difficult to find work and you must provide proof beforehand that you can afford to live and intern in England.
Internship Programs in England
Are internships paid in England?
Paid internships are less common than unpaid ones, but can definitely be found. Most internships are either unpaid or compensated non-monetarily through housing, meals, or other perks.
What visa do I need to intern in the UK?
To intern in the UK you will need either a Tier 4 or Tier 5 visa. On a Tier 4 visa, you are allowed to work in England for up to 20 hours a week.
Should I pay to intern in England?
Although it seems counter-intuitive to pay to work abroad, an internship overseas can provide many benefits. Although it's a highly personal decision, some of the benefits can include providers connecting you with companies you wouldn't have been able to work with otherwise, getting invaluable specific real-world experience in your desired field, and meeting people that can forever change the course of your life.
How much do interns get paid in the UK?
Payment depends on the company and the industry you intern in, however, you should receive at least the minimum wage of £7.70 per hour.